Woman who held ‘F*** the DUP’ placard at Belfast gay pride parade escapes prosecution

Woman who held ‘F*** the DUP’ placard at Belfast gay pride parade escapes prosecution

A WOMAN questioned by police after holding a placard reading “F*** the DUP” at a gay pride march in Belfast will not be prosecuted.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed it will not prosecute Ellie Evans, 25, over the incident last August.

Ms Evans was questioned by PSNI officers after two complaints were made over the placard, including by the DUP’s MLA for South Down, Jim Wells, who wanted her acts to be treated as a ‘hate crime’.

The placard in question was confiscated on the day of the Belfast Pride event over fears it breached Parades Commission rules.

However, the PPS said today that after examining the dispute it has decided not to take any action against Ms Evans.

In a statement, PPS spokesperson said: “We have carefully considered all of the available evidence in this case and it has been concluded that the test for prosecution is not met.

“Two potential public order offences were considered in relation to the incident. However, it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction for an offence under Article 9 of the Public Order (NI) Order 1987 because the message was not directed towards a group of persons defined by religious belief, disability, race, sexual orientation, colour, nationality or ethnicity.

“An offence contrary to Article 19 of the 1987 Order was also considered but the available evidence did not provide a reasonable prospect of proving the required intent to provoke a breach of the peace or, alternatively, that a breach of the peace was likely as a result of the accused’s conduct.

“It was further considered that the potential for prosecution under Article 9 of the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998 did not arise because no determination had issued from the Parades Commission in respect of the Belfast Pride parade.”

In November, the PSNI dropped a probe into signs and banners with the same caption at a pro-choice abortion rally in Belfast.

Police said the organisers of the event had co-operated with them and “no further police action was deemed necessary.”